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The 10 Biggest Comebacks in NFL History

Plenty of times throughout the regular season and playoffs fans are on the edge of their seats hoping their favorite team can make a comeback and ultimately pick up the win. Sometimes it does happen and in dramatic fashion. Start your free trial with Fubo and don’t miss out on any historic games for the upcoming season.

Top 10 Biggest Comebacks in NFL History: Your Fan Guide

Comebacks are the most exciting or devastating moments for every NFL fan. It doesn’t matter the decade. We’ll provide a guide to the biggest comebacks in NFL history.

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Top 5 Greatest Comebacks in NFL Regular Season History

T-4: 1987: St Louis Cardinals 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28 — 25 points

While it may have been in front of just 22,449 fans — the Cardinals’ lowest attendance in four years — Neil Lomax threw three touchdown passes, as St. Louis rallied from a 28-3 deficit to pull off the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in league history (28 points). The Buccaneers had a chance to send the game to overtime, but kicker Donald Igwebuike’s 53-yard field goal attempt bounced off the crossbar as time expired and the Cardinals’ comeback was complete.

T-4: 2014: Cleveland Brown 29, Tennessee Titans 28 — 25 points

Behind three touchdown passes from Brian Hoyer, Cleveland came back from a 28-3 deficit to beat Tennessee 29-28. Not only was it the largest comeback in Browns’ history, but it was the largest road comeback in NFL history. Every Browns game up to that point had been decided by three points or fewer.

Hoyer’s most impressive drive came right before halftime with the Browns trailing 28-3. Hoyer went 4-for-4 for 65 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jim Dray with 12 seconds left in the half. The score started the Browns’ rally and it was all Cleveland after that.

No. 3: 1997: Buffalo Bills 37, Indianapolis Colts 35 — 26 points

Buffalo trailed by 26 points in the second quarter before Todd Collins led the Bills to 10 unanswered points before halftime to make the deficit manageable. Antowain Smith rushed for three touchdowns in the second half, including a 54-yard run with 5:21 to play to give Buffalo a 37-29 lead.

However, the Colts didn’t go completely cold with backup quarterback Paul Justin hitting Marvin Harrison on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left. The Colts went for the two-point conversion and the tie to force overtime. However, Kurt Schulz broke up Justin’s pass for Harrison to keep the 37-35 lead and the Bills won. Buffalo’s win came despite five turnovers and two muffed punts.

No. 2: 1980: San Francisco 49ers 38, New Orleans Saints 35 (OT) — 28 points

Joe Montana’s legendary career began in this game. Everything looked all but over after the first half with the Saints outgaining the 49ers 324-21 and a 35-7 score. The 49ers’ only touchdown in the first half came on a 57-yard punt return by Freddie Solomon.

In the second half, Montana threw for two touchdown passes, a 71-yard pass to Dwight Clark and then a 14-yard pass to Solomon to make it 35-28. Lenvil Elliott tied the game with a 7-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Montana capped the comeback in overtime, as the 49ers clinched the victory with Ray Wersching drilling a 36-yard kick. Montana threw for two touchdown passes and rushed for one in the second half, finishing 24 of 36 for 285 yards.

No. 1: 2022: Minnesota Vikings 39, Indianapolis Colts 36 (OT) — 33 points

The largest comeback in NFL history belongs to the Vikings, who overcame a 33-0 halftime deficit to pull of the improbable comeback and clinch the NFC North title, which made it all the more amazing and important. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw four touchdowns in the second half, as the Vikings erased a 36-7 deficit with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter to score the final 32 points in the game.

Minnesota scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, tying the game on a Dalvin Cook 64-yard touchdown reception from Cousins with 2:15 to play in regulation. After punting on their first overtime possession, the Vikings were led down the field by Cousins with 1:41 to play as. He led the team 60 yards down the field which resulted in a Greg Joseph 40-yard field goal for the win with three seconds remaining in overtime. 

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Five Biggest Comebacks in NFL Playoff History

T-5: 2020: Kansas City Chiefs 51, Houston Texans 31 — 24 points

Patrick Mahomes is known for his comebacks and the 2020 AFC divisional round game against the Houston Texans was no different. Beginning with the first of his five touchdown passes, Mahomes and the Chiefs slowly chipped away at Houston’s seemingly insurmountable lead. They continued to pick up momentum, outscoring the Texans 28-0 during the second quarter alone and eventually reeled off 41 consecutive points before cruising the rest of the way to a 51-31 victory.

The win propelled Kansas City back to the AFC championship game for the second consecutive season. The Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20.

T-5: 2003: San Francisco 49ers 39, New York Giants 38 — 24 points

New York went into halftime with a 28-14 lead in the NFC Wild Card round. However, in the second half New York quarterback Kerry Collins, who had thrown four touchdowns in the first half, didn’t produce any in the second half. As the 49ers decided to go into a hurry-up offense, they started taking advantage of the Giants defense and moved downfield with proficiency. The Giants had a chance to win the game on a field goal, but a botched snap ended their chances of in a controversial win for the 49ers.

No. 4: 2017: New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 (OT) — 25 points

It doesn’t get much bigger than this comeback. It didn’t look good for Tom Brady’s legacy when the Patriots trailed 28-3 to the Falcons in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, but he captained the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history. The 39-year-old quarterback set Super Bowl records with 446 passing yards, 62 passing attempts and 43 completions as the New England reeled off 31 unanswered points. Forcing overtime, the Patriots won 34-28. This game is largely considered one of the greatest Super Bowls of all time. 

No. 3: 2022: Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30 — 27 points

It was a tale of two halves in this game. In his first playoff appearance, Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions over the team’s first six drives, as the Jaguars fell behind 27-0 with 4:25 left in the second quarter of this AFC Wild Card game. Lawrence, however, wasn’t fazed and threw four touchdown passes over the team’s next six drives to become the first quarterback in NFL history to have four consecutive interceptions without a TD pass and then four straight touchdown passes without an interception in the same game (regular season or postseason).

No. 2: 2013: Indianapolis Colts 45, Kansas City Chiefs 44 — 28 points

Facing what seemed like an insurmountable 38-10 hole in the third quarter, Andrew Luck didn’t give up, throwing three of his four touchdown passes over the final two quarters. He also picked up a Donald Brown fumble and pushed it into the end zone to cut the deficit to 41-38. After a Kansas City field goal, Luck found wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on a 64-yard pass to give the Colts the dramatic AFC Wild Card victory.

No. 1: 1992: Buffalo Bills 41, Houston Oilers 38 (OT) — 32 points

Before becoming an NFL head coach, Bills backup quarterback Frank Reich led the biggest playoff comeback in NFL history. With Jim Kelly out due to a knee injury, Reich was in a position to engineer an epic rally when Buffalo fell behind 35-3 in the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card game. It didn’t help that star running back Thurman Thomas was also knocked out with a hip injury, but Reich threw four touchdown passes in the second half – three to wideout Andre Reed – and Steve Christie’s game-winning field goal made history in overtime. It’s known as “The Comeback” in Buffalo and “The Choke” in Houston.

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How to Watch the 2023-2024 NFL Season?

Want to watch the 2023 season and see who has some amazing comeback wins? Then make sure you’re subscribed to Fubo, which gives you access to all nationally televised NFL games (CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN) as well as regional coverage during the season and the NFL RedZone Channel.

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